Though originally developed to serve as a digital ledger for Bitcoin, blockchain is now solving a wide range of problems — and a $40 billion headache in the food industry is the latest.

A report by PwC estimated food fraud costs the food industry up to $40 billion every single year, with contaminated food in the US alone resulting in a whopping 48 million illnesses annually.

The problem, as Sean O’Leary, CEO of food-traceability software company FoodLogiQ told Decrypt, is that many businesses don’t have the software to take control of food tracing problems.

“Many large companies still rely on paper, pencils, spreadsheets, and whiteboards,” he said.

But a growing number of organisations are beginning to turn to the blockchain to record, track and trace down to the original seed, providing oversight over the entire supply chain, from farming to the plate.

Israeli-Australian track-and-trace company Security Matters (ASX:SMX) is a world leader in this field.

Its technology enables any solid, liquid or gas to be invisibly and irrevocably marked using a chemical-based barcode. This is then read using a proprietary reader which matches the information received with the details stored on the blockchain.

READ: Why Australian agriculture will embrace blockchain

It already has a number of agreements in place in the agricultural industry. The tech can mark each constituent part of the end product, meaning each member of the supply chain has the ability to see if the food has been tampered with and where along the line the breach has occurred.

This content is produced by Star Investing in commercial partnership with Security Matters. This content does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.